Writeup courtesy of Sam Briggs
Marileidy Paulino is not a household name for most of us, but for her country and those who have heard her story around the world, she is certainly an inspiration. For those unfamiliar with this new star, Paulino, 27, is a Dominican Republic history-maker in track and field events. In the past year, she took home the gold in the 400m, and world mixed 4x400m relay, marking the first Dominican Republic gold medals at the World Athletic Championships in almost 20 years and the first Dominican female World Champion.
Her introduction to track was not a typical story. Most Olympians and World Champions would tell you a long story about their dreams and lifelong journey to compete for country and glory. Not Paulino. Paulino had no aspirations of glory as she was playing the games she loved, handball and volleyball. It didn’t come until the sports minister of her country witnessed her athleticism during a handball match and wound up recruiting her to run track.
“This is something very big, since I come from a poor, humble family,” Paulino explained. “They told me to switch to athletics, but I didn’t want to know about athletics. I told them, ‘No, no, and no.’ Finally, I did it. At first, it became something that I did for the money, then it became love,” she said.
Paulino now quickly turns her attention from this summer to this week, as she will continue to represent her country at the Pan American Games in Santiago. Wednesday, November 1st, she will compete in the 200m semifinal and look to keep her win streak alive.
In the world of track and field, Marileidy Paulino is a force to be reckoned with. Her incredible speed and unrelenting drive have earned her a place among the elite athletes in the sport. With each stride, she reminds us that determination knows no limits and true greatness is born from the combination of talent and relentless effort. It’s never too late to try something new and reach new goals in something outside your comfort zone. Taking risks, working hard, and growing every day from challenges is what Marileidy Paulino teaches us on this Motivation Monday. Good luck to Marileidy in her race on Wednesday!
Here's a video of Paulino racing in the 400m at the World Championships: